Finally, the Sun 

What am I doing with this pendant by Lesley Watt ( Find out January 10, 2016 during the Winter blog hop at Art Jewelry Elements. Details here


Posted in Blog Hops | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dragon Inro, a tale

The challenge for this month from the Lisa Pavelka and Katie Oskins group is an Inro. This is a group I joined to help me get motivated to learn new skills this year. It’s free and it’s never too late if you want to participate. This project involved a very small amount of cane, which sent me into a panic. I have managed to avoid canework in the past quite successfully, and I was probably going to go along and tell myself, quite happily, that it was okay because “that’s not my thing.” Except, then I saw this tutorial by Mihaela Georgescu and I had to call myself a liar. The beauty in this tutorial is it doesn’t have to be perfect–it’s quite matter of fact about squishing clay together with no panic about the end product. It looks how it looks and that’s beautiful. So, that was my impetus.

I had been thinking about colors all month. I did a little poll on my Windbent page to help me with color choices and my tribe picked this color palette.

Then, I made my first cane.


At this point, I had decided that I had made a wing like cane and started thinking about creatures with wings…


Just that fast, a dragon was born. I didn’t let a little thing like never having made an Inro or dragon phase me; I had made cane after all, so I was obviously awesome…although, I really wish I had this Christi Friesen book. Sadly, it’s out of print and unaffordable. What I should have remembered was Katie Oskins makes fabulous dragons, but I didn’t so I had to muddle through on my own. Face palm. One day I will learn not to make my life harder than it has to be.

The Lisa Pavelka tutorial is what I used for the construction of the Inro. It calls for you to use a small metal bottle to bake the first piece on and I didn’t have one so I used a brass bracelet blank from B’Sue Boutiques that I bent to be as small as possible. 

I then covered it with my cane and baked it. Because I did not use Lisa’s design, the baking instructions were a little hard to figure out. I don’t think I baked it long enough, so I had some breakage that I had to repair on the next baking.

Next, came the lid, which was the most difficult for me. Because I had left scale fringe on the bottom of my box, I couldn’t stand it up to work on to get the top to line up properly. I also had forgotten to poke holes in the bottom before baking, so I made sure to put holes in the top and then line them up with the bottom as best I could when it came out of the oven and marked the bottom for drilling. These are for the cord.

My scales also made the top uneven. I do wish I had leveled it before baking, but I didn’t, so I had to make the top fit the bottom no matter what. This is where I made my other tactical error. Having never made a dragon head before, I started to play. Only then, I liked it. The problem was then squishing it onto the top so I could mark the holes again and bake it. I smooshed a fair amount of my dragon details in the process and had to redo a lot. I would recommend only doing the shape of whatever you want first and adding the details later. Yes, sigh, this should have been obvious.

At this point, I started thinking about wings. B’Sue Boutiques also has some really cool wings in every size and shape. I used these as molds.  


I also started work on my clasp. I baked a cord end and a clasp into the clay. Then, I decided to make some earrings, so I baked some of my cane and used the cut offs from scales to make the posts. I then made a little piece that goes on the cord. 


My final tactical error was that in baking on the wings, and since I couldn’t stand it up with the design I used, the back got a little flat and the weight smooshed in the box a little, making the lid harder to fit on. So, this is my very first: cane, Inro, and dragon. I made some mistakes, but overall it is something that won’t (hopefully) intimidate me again. 





Posted in Challenges | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Epic Inspiration Jewellery Blog Hop

Yes, I did spell jewelry that way because our host is Australian. This blog was inspired by the idea of epic television shows. The host is Melissa Trudinger of Boho Bird Jewellery. When I was thinking about what to do, Melissa said something along the lines of “you like Dr Who.” I was also in the middle of (still in the middle of) making a bracelet for a friend that I wanted to have a wolf on…thus began my idea about Bad Wolf. If you do not watch Dr Who, let me say this: 

Google it and you will see:

I don’t think this is actually encouraged by the BBC. 


The Bad Wolf story arc really caught people’s imaginations. People still debate about how effective it was considering they didn’t really know where it was going when they inserted into the story line…repeatedly…and then had to explain it. Here are some cliff notes for you:

Here are some ideas I sketched out.

I was going to stamp metal originally, but my friend said she would etch me some things. Unfortunately, my package got lost in the mail. Then, I ran out of time and went out of town. (Note to self: do not sign up for Blog Hops when you will be out of town.) It did force me to rethink some things. I think my design would have been too pretty. I really wanted an industrial, graffiti look combined with the idea of (Rose) the beauty of Billie Piper. I made several roses and didn’t like them. I didn’t like the wolf head. I was going to try polymer clay…and I didn’t like that either. I then looked at images and other Dr Who jewelry…and was not too happy. There is some out there and the rose idea and bad wolf idea has been done. At this point, the phrase came to mind from the Rifleman’s Creed, “there are many like it, but this one is mine.” Ooh Rah. I was committed to the course and already late to the party. I then: stamped it; waxed it; melted it; painted it; scratched it with a wire brush, a diamond file and steel wool; drilled it; heated it…no really…it was epic. I do like that the little connectors I made chain with look like something from space. 

So there you have it. For good or ill. If you haven’t already, please take a look at the other blog participants. Each person choose a different TV show to design for. Thank you for looking.


Melissa Trudinger (Hostess)

Karen Mitchell

Andrea Glick

Karen Martinez

Lennis Carrier

Lindsay Starr

Mona Arnott

Lee Koopman

Shaiha Williams

Veralynne Malone

Elisabeth Auld

Kelly Schermerhorn

Dini Bruinsma

Posted in Blog Hops | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Epic Inspiration Failure

Melissa Trudinger of Boho Bird Jewellery hosted a fabulous blog hop this weekend. I knew that I would be at The Bead & Button Show in Milwaulkee, but I hoped to be done with my piece before I left. The pieces I had made to use didn’t arrive before I left. I hate to be unreliable, so I hope she’ll forgive me. I would like to complete my piece still; I choose Dr. Who! In the meantime, please visit her hop.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Spring Awakening Challenge Reveal

Today is the reveal for the Spring Awakening Challenge where I used beads purchased from Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery. Here is what was in the kit and the handmade component Andrew made.

Yes, I did actually sort through it really well; I like to know when I can be symmetrical and when I can’t. These are really my colors, so it is strange that I have a hard time coming up with ideas for these. Luckily, I didn’t have to look far for inspiration. Included in the box, was a lovely postcard advertising the Gallery’s current exhibition featuring a painting by Cynthia Thornton called “Mama Mermaid.” The whole earth awakens in Spring. 

I grabbed a few oceanic, tropical things before I remembered one of the first pieces I ever made. It was actually the second piece of metal I painted; I was so intent on the focal, that I just put it on a chain, so a redo was in order. 

I didn’t change the earrings, since I like the sea glass and vintage glass together, but I reworked the look of the necklace. 

I haven’t used waxed linen before. Oh, I have it here laying around, but it’s sticky! Since it came in the kit, I really wanted to challenge myself to work with it. Since the necklace wasn’t falling apart, I was confident enough to try earrings.

While it’s fun to experiment, these are not really what I consider my style. My style is still evolving, but these are not something I would normally make. With that thought in mind, I tackled Andrew’s polymer clay pendant. How could I still use the waxed linen, but be more me?

I’m pleased with the way the bracelet turned out. This is totally something I would make, just with some new texture. Now, this is where I got ambitious. I love art dolls and spirt dolls…but I have never made one. I blame the beads–they screamed to me and I answered. Many times, I have a very clear vision of what I want, and often sketch it out, but I may not always know how to do what I want to do. Skill level is one of the things I am trying hard to work on this year, so I have stopped selling and devoted myself to classes. 

One of my favorite trees is Birch. I am drawn to it in ways I can’t explain. Paintings, photos, Birch beer, wood art…I want to touch it, look at it, and ingest it. I put out a call to my beady peeps and Andrea Glick said she would send me some branches from her tree. Believe it or not, this is actually what inspired my idea: 

The mini broom, I got at a charity shop, and the beaded flowers my friend Kelli Nelson sent to me that were on my workbench. Andrea sent me the branches and also in the mail that day, was a doll head I had purchased. Bam!

I made a mold of the face and everything flowed from there. Her face is polymer clay. I have a load of recycled upholstery fabric and wallpaper that I like to use, so I grabbed what I though would work well with the beads. Silk sari ribbon is a favorite, so I had to have that! I love resin, so I used the resin to adhere the branches to the broom and while it was still wet, coated the drops with mica powders–hopefully you can see little glints of color. I love wire so I knew that would be incorporated. The final idea of a “crown” came together while visiting a bead shop/glass and mosaic supply shop in Harrisonburg, VA and found these great ceramic tile leaves. 

I hope you like her as much as I do! She hasn’t told me her name yet, so if you have any suggestions, let me know! This blog hop is small so please take the time to visit and see what the other participants have made. Thank you so much for looking. 

Christina Porter 
Michelle McCarthy of Playing with Clay 
The Host: Andrew Thornton 
Posted in Blog Hops, Challenges, design ideas, jewelry making | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

Marsala Valentine Challenge Reveal


Today is the reveal for the Marsala Valentine Challenge where I used beads purchased from Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery.

I borrowed Andrew’s photos to show you what was in the kit and the handmade components Andrew made:



I have to admit the Pantone color of the year underwhelmed me. I love burgundy, maroon, and wine. Two things helped me with this color: Andrew’s blend and this Seeds color palette:


While I like the deeper reds, I find I don’t design with red often. My comfort zone is in the blue and green shade variations so this was a great way for me to become more familiar with this color pathway. I had loads of fun digging through my stash and playing.



Earrings were first so I could dip my toes into the water:






Then, I decided to do a bracelet…which should have been a little, tiny bit bigger I think but it will still roll over my hand if I concentrate. LOL


I finally graduated to necklaces. The lampwork in this first one was made by Valerie O’Neal of Seaside Fire Designs.



And…this is when disaster struck. I was not happy with my third necklace and wanted to redesign it, but I still had not completely arranged my workspace since our move and with things piled up everywhere, I dropped it on the floor. The rake face was made by Harry Wood of Oscarcrow. His little horns broke, which are a shocking white under the glaze. Harry is making me another one, but it is a different color, as is the nature of Raku, and it has not arrived yet. I used black marker on the porcelain and was not happy with that, so I covered it with some Guilder’s Paste that I think matches well. It looks a lot better. I will redesign this and post a photograph at a later date.


Alison Herrington
Dolores Raml
Carole Carlson
Lennis Carrier
Carolyn Lawson
Michelle McCarthy
Ann Schroeder
Kari Asbury
Shaiha Williams

On Andrew Thornton’s Blog:
Andrew Thornton, Nancy Noyes-Ward, Donna Hoblit, Cheryl Lee Tucker, and Laurel Ross.

Thank you for joining us. This is a very small Blog Hop so please take a few minutes to enjoy what the other artists made.

Posted in Challenges | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Still time to Bid on Art Charms for BOC

Please visit the fundraiser for Beads of Courage. The auctions end Monday.







Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment